The ‘Applying Appitude’ brief is all about app design, which is very exciting as this is something that I have not delved into before and I think will give me a new learning opportunity. As app design is new to me I know that research is going to be key for me to have a knowledge and understanding of User Experience and User Interface design.
As part of our briefing we were shown a short video called “the evolution of the desk’ which highlighted to us how office items have slowly disappeared from the physical object into apps due to the capability of the mobile phone. For example you see the calendar off the wall disappears or the calculator vanish. It shows the cultural shift that has been made over the past decades and confirmed that as individuals we are become almost connected to our mobile devices.
I thought that it would be useful to do some general research around facts and statistics regarding app usage and mobile phones. This was really interesting to me because this was a new area for me I had little idea about what would be best to create in terms of an app.
I found that in 2017 consumers downloaded 178 billion apps alone, which means that this is a very saturated area of design. 25% of those apps are games which is more than any other genre of app. However, interestingly only 65% of smartphone users have game apps on their phones which I thought would have been a higher percentage. According to MindSea, more users have web browsers or social apps. Also, I found that younger smartphone user spend the most time on apps (this was as I expected) on average spending 3.2 hours. However, I was shocked with 25-34 year olds spending 2.6hrs and 35-44 year olds spending 2.3hrs per day – this leads me to think that they are using apps to help with everyday tasks such as checking the news or weather or for general information. From a design point of view an interesting fact that caught my eye was the fact that 21% of millennials will deleted apps because they didn’t like the logo. This fact highlights that I will need to ensure that the design on the app logo is aesthetically pleasing.
In the briefing we were given various ways that we could start to explore potential apps ideas:
- Starting with technology – looking at the physical attributes of the phone?
- Starting with potential – what can the phone do? (Sound, timers)
- Start with external systems – is technology mediating the social interactions?
- Start with a point – is there something that needs to address and made clear to individuals.
With all of these different starting points in mind it left the brief open for us to be as bold and ambitious as we wanted. I started by thinking about all the different areas that graphic lends itself too including social, cultural, political, technological and environmental (continuing on the group exercise that we completed in the briefing). I created a mind map in my sketchbook to help me visually see ideas that I could create.
I wasn’t immediately drawn to one of these areas so I began thinking about why people download apps to their phones, in many cases it’s to help them or to entertain them. Thinking about this further people download apps that they’re interested in and majority of the time relate to their hobbies, which got me thinking maybe the app I design could be related to a hobby of people. I thought about various hobbies of individuals and after a conversation with somebody it came to light that their hobby was actually walking their dog.
Under the environmental heading on the mind map I had put down about outdoor activities and walking, which lead onto dog walking. Dog owners are a huge demographic of individuals who will majority of the time check several elements that could impact their walk including the weather, walking routes, sun set times etc. where they have to check various apps different apps prior to the walk. Some dog owners are also fanatics about their dogs and will post images and information about things such as the dogs weight and age on social media. All these factors got me thinking about two potential app ideas.
Idea 1 – Dog Walking App. This would have an maps of places to walk dogs, beaches and other suitable routes. Also including the weather, tide times, sunset/sunrise times even have data regarding where the nearest waste bin is.
Idea 2 – Dog Timeline App. Would allow the dog owner to post important information about their dog like age, weight and would create a timeline in app to allow for owner to look back.
Looking at App Store I found that there were apps out their for dog owners more along the lines of the second idea however, from this initial research into dog apps out there, there is nothing made for dog walkers, which makes me think that the first idea is the strongest of the two. From this look at the App Store it was clear to me that the apps were for finding dog walkers rather than for dog walking themselves. The apps were also for grooming places or finding dog sitters.